hello kitty cake

DSC_0690This cake originated from a joke/threat I made to my friend four long-yet-short years ago, back when we were freshmen. For the first two years of college, she had the loudest Hello Kitty sheets you’ve ever seen, and I always used to tease her about them. She also always had the latest birthday of any of our friends, so I decided years ago that senior year, she would get the Hello Kitty cake she was never too old for.Strawberry PureeDSC_0636I can’t say I ever expected it to happen- I thought it would seem just too silly years later, that no one would want to eat a neon pink cake, and so on. Then I realized that people eat red velvet, which we all know is nothing more than a ton of food dye, and my friends reassured me my sense of humor wasn’t completely lost on everyone else.DSC_0656DSC_0664

While I’ve made many birthday cakes in my life, I had never made a shape other than round or square. So I googled “Hello Kitty Cake” and studied other homemade cake photos for longer than I’d like to admit. I also took some extra cake assembly precautions I often skip when pressed for time, which is usually the case. This meant freezing the cake layers for about an hour individually, and then another 30 minutes once stacked. I did not one but TWO crumb layers, because I was nervous about the pink and when you’ve gone past the two hour mark, what’s another 20 minutes.

DSC_0666DSC_0669Smeared Bow

Her reaction was well-worth the four year wait. She immediately cracked up, and the cake was really good. It’s definitely on the sweet side, although I think part of it was psychological, because how can a neon pink cake not taste sweet?

Tips:

  • As I mentioned before, freezing cake layers is integral when carving cake layers, as they are SO much easier to handle when firmed up
  • You so don’t have to use as much food dye as I did- the cake batter is light pink without any dye added, so even just a drop or two of red or pink dye would work if you want something between natural and neon
  • I hate doing crumb coats, but the difference between a cake that has one and one that doesn’t is huge, especially when the cake is a much darker color than the icing
  • I found this cake a little too sweet for my taste, so I would consider dialing down the sugar if I were to make this again
  • I only own one 12” round cake pan, from the time I made a small wedding cake for a faux-vow renewal (which is another story entirely), so I halved the batter and baked the layers one at at time.

 

Hello Kitty Cake

Make the Cake Layers:

Cake layers from Sky High

4 1/2 cups cake flour
3 cups sugar
5 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pureed frozen strawberries (fresh also works, as noted above)
8 egg whites
2/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons pink food dye (or 1 teaspoon pink food dye gel mixed with 6 tablespoons water) or however much/little you want to add

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 12” round cake pans (can also fit into 3 9” round pans). Line with parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.
  2. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixer bowl. With the electric mixer on low speed, blend for 30 seconds. Add the butter and strawberry puree and mix to blend the ingredients. Raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes; the batter will resemble strawberry ice cream at this point.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk together the egg whites, milk and red food dye, if using, to blend. Add the whites to the batter in two or three additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl well and mixing only to incorporate after each addition. Divide the batter among the prepared pans.
  4. Bake the cakes for 30 to 34 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow the layers to cool in the pans for 10 to 15 minutes. Invert and turn out onto wire racks and peel off the paper liners. Let stand until completely cooled before assembling the cake, at least an hour.
  5. Once fully cooled, freeze layers for at least 30 minutes, preferably one hour.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

2 8-oz packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

  1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.
  2. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar, one cup at a time. Refrigerate until ready to use, in a air-tight container, for up to three days

 

Assemble the cake:

  1. Place one cake layer on a cake board or plate large enough that there are a couple of inches of plate beyond the cake.
  2. Spread about one cup frosting over the layer, spreading it to the edge. Repeat with the second layer. Freeze/refrigerate for 10-20 minutes, to firm up the frosting-fusion (yes, I made that up).
  3. Once sufficiently firm, very carefully carve indentations for the ears and sides, making sure to have the bottom wider than the top. [I practiced drawing it a few times to get a better sense of it]
  4. Frost the top and sides of cake with a thin coat of icing, reserving a small amount (I think I measured 1/3 cup, which was plenty for me) to dye pink for the bow and writing (if you want). Chill for 20-30 minutes, until frosting has firmed up.
  5. Cover cake with remaining frosting, so that no pink/cake layers are visible. Decorate with licorice and jelly beans for eyes, nose and whiskers.

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